893.50 Recovery/9–148: Telegram
The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 2—1:24 a.m.]
1614. For some time we have gained impression Chinese Government may have tended to minimize importance of retaining bastions; in North China free of Communist control. Accordingly we have taken advantage of every appropriate opportunity to point out to Chinese critical situation in North China and our information to effect that with additional support Fu Tso-yi would be able to hold Peiping–Tientsin area and that Tsingtao could be defended.
On recent visit to Kuling as guest of Generalissimo, he expressed his realization of importance of maintaining security in Peiping–Tientsin area and in Tsingtao and said he had instructed Vice Minister National Defense, Cheng Kai-min, to consult with me and Admiral Badger who was also with me at Kuling regarding possibility expediting urgently needed ordnance supplies for those areas. Badger had indicated possibility of arranging for shipment such ordnance in navy bottoms coming to China otherwise empty. He had also mentioned possibility that some ordnance supplies might be available to Chinese at procurement costs.
It was as a result of this conversation and subsequent discussions with Cheng Kai-min that Admiral Badger despatched his message to CNO 240715Z, August 24.4 As some of emphasis in Badger’s despatch was not in accord with our thinking, and as we felt in any event further and clarifying discussions were needed at Ministry of National Defense Badger returned to Nanking at my request and at meeting held on August 30 with Minister National Defense Ho Ying-chin and Vice Minister Cheng Kai-min, attended of course by me, General Barr, and [Page 143]Clark, Chinese informed us of firm decision to request equipment deemed necessary to supply 7 armies of Fu Tso-yi and 3 reorganized divisions at Tsingtao. As this program might more than exhaust total allotment from “other aid” for ordnance supplies and would thus disrupt balanced programs of requisitions previously submitted to Washington by Chinese, it was obvious to us that Chinese were seeking to take advantage of possibility of free transportation—saving about 25%—as well as possibility that some weapons might thus be secured at procurement cost, to reassure us of continuing interest of Chinese Government in security North China and Tsingtao while at same time obtaining more ordnance for same expenditure from “other aid”. In fact, Defense Minister Ho assured us, and later confirmed in writing, that “the areas of North China and Shantung will be given first priority in the distribution of the weapons and ammunition for the 7 armies and 3 reorganized divisions”. He said that if ordnance were available at moment he would estimate that around 50% of amount requisitioned would be made available to North China. He has also promised in writing to visit North China and determine actual requirements prior to distribution of ordnance. We have stressed that final decision in this regard rests completely with Chinese Government.
In this final discussion I took occasion to stress that while we were pointing out dangers inherent in North China situation and expressing our hope that Chinese would be able to do something to improve situation, I was nevertheless making no specific request as I was uninformed of overall Chinese requirements and realized that priority given North China needs would of necessity be determined in light of overall requirements.
Admiral Badger has returned to Tsingtao and is communicating in more detail with Navy Department on this subject. Instructions, I am informed, have gone forward to Chinese Ambassador in Washington to make immediate contact with our people for release from “other aid” of funds needed to acquire ordnance being requisitioned, details of which are in instructions to Chinese Ambassador.
Remembering your instructions that you were prepared to assist China in every “feasible” way, I have ventured to support Badger in his efforts to reduce cost to China of “other aid” by canvassing possibility of shipping some material in otherwise unused Navy bottoms and I hope my action meets with your approval. Also argument that North China can be held with relatively small increased expenditure has been sufficiently convincing to me to make me feel warranted in bringing matter to attention of Generalissimo in such a way to avoid, I believe, responsibility for any action he may take.